President Bill Clinton's Eulogy for his "Uncle Buddy"
Funeral of Henry Oren Grisham, 1995-1997
"We have come here to celebrate the life of one of the most truly remarkable people I have ever known - a man without wealth or power, without position or any pretense, who was, nonetheless, loved, admired, respected because he was smart and wise, profoundly good, and I might add, very funny. There will be a lot of tears shed ... today and you might say, well, how could you cry that much for a man who had God's gift of 92 years. Because he was forever young, and we wish he'd lived to be 192.
"Everyone who ever knew him had a story about him, about hunting or fishing or farming, about sharing a meal or swapping a tale. One of the young men at the funeral home came up to me this morning just before we came out and said, you know, he always set me up; he made me laugh.
"One of the members of the family said he was the salt of the earth and the spice of life. Everyone who talks about him has clear, vivid memories of his wit and his wisdom, and I might add, his remarkable ability to be both brutally honest and always kind.
"When I was a young boy, sadly in need of a hand up and a little kindness and wisdom, whenever I was at his house and Ollie's, I always felt at home. But he always treated everybody that way. After I became a grown man, he only called me one time - in our whole life together, just once - to tell me that in 1979, a year before all the experts said it, that I could not be reelected governor because I had made people mad. And I said, 'Well, what do you think I ought to do about it?' He said, 'Tell them you made a mistake and undo it, for goodness sake.' I said, 'I can't do that.' He said, 'Good, after the next election you'll have a lot more time to spend with me.' (laughter.) And he was right.
"The great poet, William Wordsworth, said that the last, best hope of a good man's life are the little unremembered acts of kindness and love. I'll bet you every person here today who ever met that man has an act of kindness and love.
"So I say of his great life, all of it was more than pretty good. If our country and our world had more people like Henry Oren Grisham, how much better it would be - how many more children would have a happy childhood, how much more peace and harmony there would be. Conrad's poem said it all. I'm pretty sure God heard it. Thank you. God bless you.
NOTE: Mr. Grisham was known as a salt-of-the-earth man of wit and wisdom. Although proud of Bill, Uncle Buddy Grisham didn't cease thinking of Bill as just his nephew, whether attorney general, governor or presient. During President Clinton's 1st term in office he lost his mother, his best friend, and his father-in-law. Uncle Buddy gave Bill steady support during those heart-breaking times. His photo remains on Bill's desk as governor, president, global statesman.
NOTE: Transitions in Progress 2010-2011
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. gifted President Bill Clinton's 1st Home to the National Parks Service in January 2011, a gift to the nation and the world. Location: 117. S. Hervey St., Hope, AR. Home is open daily for interpretive tours 8:30-4:30. Free.
Interim website: www.nps.gov/history
Telephones: 870-777-4455; 870-722-8508.
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. and The Clinton Museums Association of Friends continue to preserve Clinton's 2nd Home at 321 E. 13th St. (passive exhibits through porch windows) and to work with the National Parks to benefit Clinton's 1st Home.
P.O.Box 1925 Hope, Arkansas 71802 | Telephone 870-722-6929
On-line store is pending.
(C) 2009, 2010, 2011 Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Clinton Museum Association of Friends, Clinton Childhood Home Museums